# Quantum Computers Aren’t What You Think — They’re Cooler | Hartmut Neven | TED

TLDRHartmut Neven, head of Google Quantum AI, explains the revolutionary potential of quantum computing, which harnesses the laws of quantum physics to perform complex computations more efficiently than traditional binary computers. He introduces the concept of superposition, allowing quantum computers to operate in multiple states simultaneously, effectively processing information across parallel universes. Neven discusses practical applications, such as creating quantum states for scientific research and developing algorithms for molecular detection, which could lead to consumer devices like an 'electronic nose' in smartphones. He also outlines Google's roadmap for building a large-scale quantum computer, emphasizing the technology's future impact on fields like medicine, material science, and optimization.

### Takeaways

- 🌐 Quantum computers operate on the principles of quantum physics rather than binary logic, offering more powerful operations.
- 🔄 The concept of superposition from quantum physics allows quantum computers to perform computations in parallel universes.
- 🧠 Hartmut Neven, leading Google Quantum AI, explains quantum computing as a technology that embraces the idea of a multiverse.
- 🔍 Quantum computing can significantly reduce the number of steps required for certain computations, such as searching through a large dataset.
- 🎼 Programming a quantum computer involves using a language like Cirq, which resembles sheet music with lines for qubits and boxes for operations.
- 🧪 Google Quantum AI has prepared interesting quantum states and studied their properties, leading to high-impact publications.
- 🕳 They have created a state that simulates a tiny traversable wormhole, contributing to the understanding of wormhole physics.
- ⏳ Time crystals, a novel physical phenomenon, have been made by Google's quantum team, defying conventional energy exchange principles.
- 🔗 Non-abelian anyons, systems that change properties when identical parts are exchanged, have been explored in quantum experiments.
- 🛠️ Google is working on an algorithm for signal processing that could lead to practical applications like detecting molecules using nuclear electronic spin spectroscopy.
- 🌟 The potential for quantum computers to solve optimization problems could revolutionize fields like engineering, finance, and machine learning.

### Q & A

### What is the main difference between classical computers and quantum computers?

-Classical computers operate on binary logic of zeros and ones, while quantum computers replace this with the laws of quantum physics, allowing them to perform certain computations with fewer steps due to the principle of superposition.

### How does the concept of a multiverse relate to quantum computing?

-Quantum computing takes the idea of a multiverse seriously, and can be seen as performing computations in parallel universes, which gives it the ability to process information in many configurations simultaneously.

### What is superposition in the context of quantum physics?

-Superposition is a key mathematical object in quantum physics that describes many worlds. It allows a quantum system to exist in multiple configurations at once, which is essential for quantum computing's parallel processing capabilities.

### How does quantum computing perform a search task more efficiently than classical computing?

-Quantum computing can perform a search task more efficiently by accessing multiple possibilities simultaneously through superposition, allowing it to find an item in a large dataset with significantly fewer steps than classical computing.

### What is a quantum algorithm and how does it differ from a classical algorithm?

-A quantum algorithm is a set of operations performed on qubits that leverage quantum mechanics to solve problems. It differs from a classical algorithm by utilizing principles like superposition and entanglement, which enable it to process information in ways that classical algorithms cannot.

### What practical applications have been achieved with quantum computers so far?

-Quantum computers have been used to prepare interesting quantum states and study their properties, leading to publications in high-impact journals. They have also been used to create tiny traversable wormholes, time crystals, and non-abelian anyons, which are systems with unique properties.

### What is the significance of quantum error correction in the development of quantum computers?

-Quantum error correction is crucial for the development of quantum computers because it reduces the error rate in qubit operations. By combining many physical qubits into a logical qubit, the error rate can be significantly lowered, making quantum computations more reliable.

### What is Hartmut Neven's vision for the future applications of quantum computing?

-Hartmut Neven envisions quantum computing being used for signal processing to detect and analyze molecules, potentially leading to consumer applications like an 'electronic nose' in smartphones. He also sees potential in simulating systems where quantum effects are important, such as for drug design, battery technology, and fusion reactor design.

### What is Neven's Law and how does it relate to the growth of quantum computing power?

-Neven's Law states that the power of quantum computers will grow at a double exponential rate. This law is used to describe the dramatic increase in compute power that has been observed as quantum computers advance, with recent demonstrations showing computations that would take current supercomputers billions of years.

### How does Hartmut Neven describe the intersection of quantum information science and neurobiology?

-Hartmut Neven is interested in how quantum information science may help answer deep questions about consciousness, such as whether it is the experience of a single classical world emerging from the multiverse. He has initiated a program to test this conjecture using quantum neurobiology.

### What are the six milestones in Google's roadmap for building a large error-corrected quantum computer?

-The six milestones in Google's roadmap include demonstrating beyond classical computation on a quantum computer, achieving scalable quantum error correction, and other undisclosed milestones that aim to build a computer with a million physical qubits.

### Outlines

### 🌌 Quantum Computing: Exploring the Multiverse

Hartmut Neven, the head of Google Quantum AI, introduces the concept of quantum computing and its potential to revolutionize computation. He explains that while traditional computers operate on binary logic, quantum computers harness quantum physics, allowing them to perform certain tasks far more efficiently. The power of quantum computing lies in its ability to operate in a superposition of states, effectively conducting computations in parallel universes. This is exemplified by the quantum search algorithm, which can significantly reduce the number of steps needed to find a specific item in a database. Neven also demonstrates how quantum algorithms are programmed using Cirq, a Python-based language, and how these algorithms are executed on Google's quantum computers. He concludes by discussing the current applications of quantum computers, such as creating novel quantum states and studying their properties, which have led to groundbreaking research in high-impact journals.

### 🔬 Quantum Innovations: From Wormholes to Time Crystals

In the second paragraph, Neven delves into some of the fascinating quantum states and phenomena that have been explored using quantum computers. He describes the creation of a state that mimics a traversable wormhole, allowing for the study of its physics, and the synthesis of time crystals, which exhibit perpetual motion without energy exchange. He also mentions non-abelian anyons, a quantum system where the properties change upon exchanging identical parts, which has no classical analog. Neven then discusses the potential for quantum computers to enable new commercial applications, such as signal processing for molecular detection, which could lead to consumer devices capable of detecting viruses or allergens. He outlines Google's roadmap for building a large-scale quantum computer with a million physical qubits, detailing the milestones achieved so far and the progress towards quantum error correction, which is essential for reliable quantum computation.

### 🚀 The Future of Quantum Computing: Applications and Implications

The final paragraph outlines the future applications and implications of quantum computing. Neven discusses the potential for quantum computers to simulate systems where quantum effects are crucial, which could aid in the design of more effective medicines, lighter batteries for electric vehicles, and even fusion reactors to combat climate change. He also mentions a novel quantum algorithm that could significantly speed up optimization problems, which are prevalent in various fields. Neven speculates on the intersection of quantum information science and neurobiology, suggesting that quantum computing might help answer fundamental questions about consciousness. He concludes by emphasizing the steady progress towards a useful quantum computer and the immense potential it holds for solving currently insurmountable problems, viewing it as a transformative tool for future generations.

### Mindmap

### Keywords

### 💡Quantum Computing

### 💡Binary Logic

### 💡Superposition

### 💡Multiverse

### 💡Quantum Algorithm

### 💡Qubit

### 💡Quantum Error Correction

### 💡Neven's Law

### 💡Time Crystals

### 💡Feynman's Killer App

### Highlights

Quantum computers replace binary logic with quantum physics for more powerful operations.

Quantum computing is the first technology to take the multiverse idea seriously.

Quantum computers can perform certain computations with far fewer steps than classical computers.

Superposition in quantum physics allows for the existence of many configurations simultaneously.

Quantum computers can be seen as farming out computations to parallel universes.

Quantum mechanics suggests that objects exist in a superposition of many configurations.

Quantum computers can perform a search task in a fraction of the steps required by classical computers.

Quantum algorithms can find an item in a database of four by only doing a single call to the database.

Google Quantum AI has prepared interesting quantum states and studied their properties.

Quantum states can be used to learn about the physics of wormholes.

Time crystals are a physical property that changes periodically without exchanging energy.

Non-abelian anyons are systems that change properties when exchanging identical parts.

No practical application has been performed that can only be done on a quantum computer.

Google is completing the design of an algorithm for signal processing to detect and analyze molecules.

Quantum computers may lead to consumer applications like an electronic nose in phones or smartwatches.

Google's roadmap for building a quantum computer with a million physical qubits consists of six milestones.

Quantum error correction is crucial for reducing the error rate in quantum computations.

Quantum computers could simulate systems where quantum effects are important, aiding in drug design and battery technology.

Quantum information science may help answer the question of what creates conscious experience.

Quantum computers will be a gift to future generations, solving problems that are currently unsolvable.